27 Feb – In light of upcoming local racing/action flick "Evolusi KL Drift", Cinema Online jumped at the chance to speak with the young director, Syamsul Yusof, to pick his brains about his experience directing a film for the first time.
You wrote, directed and even starred in "Evolusi KL Drift". How did you deal with all that?
I must admit that directing and acting at same time was incredibly challenging, but I am thankful for the experience that I already had from directing and acting in the TV series "Sembilu Kasih" for two years. I learned a lot from that stint. I guess without that experience I may not have been able to produce a film that I can be proud of. Also, I couldn't have done it without support from my family and crewmembers.
There are a lot of Hollywood flicks along the same theme such as "Fast and Furious" and "Redline". Why did you want to do a movie like this? How does "KL Drift" compare to those films?
Making an action film in Malaysia is actually tough: it is a challenge, and risky. For this film I had to invest a lot of money, but I really wanted to do it because I believe that this kind of movie appeals to a younger audience. Besides, I love action-packed films and I am confident in my abilities to deliver, so I never hesitated. I personally feel that we lack this kind of film in Malaysia, which is why I'm so excited about it. Audiences love variety, especially in local films that they can relate to. The story is easily understood and it's entertaining at the same time.
How much did it cost to make "Evolusi KL Drift"?
RM 2 million, almost the biggest budget ever for productions under Skop, but it was really worth it. Since this movie is about sporty cars, I personally requested for expensive cars like the Skyline and RX7 to be used in "Evolusi KL Drift". That is where a huge chunk of the money went, because I didn't want just any regular car that you can see anywhere on the road. I decided that we should go for suitable cars regardless of the cost. Of course, it took a lot of courage and sacrifice to achieve what I wanted for this movie.
Tell us a little bit about the filming process.
Prior to the filming, we looked at several car magazines to choose the most suitable cars for the movie. I had the final say on which cars were the best and we made a deal with the car companies to rent them. It wasn't easy to say the least, but at the end of the day our efforts paid off and I was really satisfied with the results. Making the movie was quite challenging for us, as all the scenes were shot without using any CGI at all. I personally prefer it and I feel the audience would enjoy watching something that is real. In a few scenes we used four cameras in order to capture every angle. The final scene, which was an accident scene involving the RX7, was filmed using four camera angles so as not waste the shot and to make it more realistic. Besides, that scene alone cost us RM 40,000. We wanted to make sure we got the most out of it. Filming took 38 days in total, which is something that I am proud of, because usually, action movies like this one can take up to 50 days. We managed to shoot the movie in such a short time because we were very strict with the shooting schedule.
What is your target collection for the movie?
To be frank, I don't really have a target for "Evolusi KL Drift". I'm completely new to film directing so I'm a bit apprehensive about setting a target. I do hope that this film can bring in as much of an audience as possible to the cinemas. I've done my best to make this movie look good and realistic and it's up to the viewers out there to accept it.
So, what's next for you?
Well, since "Evolusi KL Drift" is complete and awaiting general release, I am working on pre-production for my upcoming film, which is also an action flick. I can't reveal the title just yet, but filming is scheduled to begin in March.
"Evolusi KL Drift" races into cinemas on 3 April 2008.
"Evolusi KL Drift" info